Tips on planning for a flood.
- Know if you live in a flood-risk area.
- Download and fill-in the Prepared BC Flood Preparedness Guide (available in French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Punjabi).
- Prepare personal emergency supply kits for your home, car and work (plan for at least a three-day supply of food and water for each family member). Make sure you have your ID and BC Services Card.
- Have an ample supply of any medications you might need. If you are unable to bring your medication with you, you can get prescription refills at any pharmacy using your BC Services Card or your ID and Personal Health Number. Find out more at Toward the Heart.
- Have a grab-and-go kit ready if you have to leave your home quickly. Supply lists are available in English, French, Simplified Chinese, Traditional Chinese, and Punjabi.
- Keep important papers in watertight containers and have a record of your valuables in a safe place.
- If flooding is likely in your area, listen to local media reports for information.
- Watch for warning signs: increased height and intensity of water flows, mudslides, debris in creeks, colour changes in water or leaning trees.
- Consider arrangements for your pets and any livestock. Prepared BC has pet planning tips here.
- Check on elderly or disabled neighbours to ensure they are aware of the flood threat.
- Visit the Provincial Emergency Program website and your local community website for personal emergency preparedness information
If you are the owner or worker of an agricultural operation, there is also guidance available from the Government of B.C.
Threatened by flood waters
If your property is threatened by rising waters:
- Bring in outdoor furniture; move essential items and any hazardous materials such as cleaners or pesticides to an upper floor or away from the area.
- Turn off utilities at the main switches or valves and unplug electrical items.
- Prepare for the possibility of evacuation.
- Visit BC Hydro for information on floods and electrical safety.
- Visit Fortis BC for information on floods.
If you must evacuate
- Always follow the instructions of local emergency officials.
- Ensure each family member has waterproof clothing and footwear.
- Lock all doors and windows and double check to ensure gas, electricity and water are all shut off.
- Turn off your gas at the main shut-off valve. Don’t turn it back on yourself.
- Take extra care while driving – familiar roads may look dramatically different when flooded. Do not drive into flooded areas. Check the road conditions before you leave.
- Do not walk through moving water. Less than 15 centimetres of moving water can make you fall. If you have to walk in water, go where the water is not moving and watch for tripping hazards.
- In the event of an evacuation, make sure you register at your local community reception centre.
- Keep disaster response routes clear.
After a flood
- Numerous hazards may be present in a flood zone, and they may be difficult to spot due to the surrounding damage and the emotion of returning home. Key hazards and guidance are provided in the Flood zones are danger zones (bccdc.ca) document.
- Listen for news reports to learn whether the water supply is safe to drink. Watch for boil water advisories.
- Avoid floodwaters – it may be contaminated or electrically charged from downed power lines.
- Return home only when authorities indicate it is safe.
- It may not be safe to clean your home or property after a flood due to contamination. Please see HealthLinkBC for precautions to take. Depending on the extent of damage, if possible, consider hiring a professional.
- Call your insurance provider before you start your clean up activities.
- Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and harmful chemicals. HealthLink BC has information in multiple languages about how to clean up after a flood.
- Information on mold clean-up for homeowners and renters is also available from the US CDC.
- Do not turn on electrical or gas switches or wet electrical equipment unless verified by a professional. Find one using Technical Safety BC’s find a licensed contractor tool.
- Throw out food contaminated by either flood waters or being left in an unplugged fridge.
- Contact your utility companies.
- Frequently asked questions for Landlords and Tenants is available from the BC Government.
Taking care of mental health during flood events
- A flood can be very stressful. Fraser Health has resources to support your mental health needs.
- For a child/youth mental health crisis, call Fraser Health’s START program at 1-844-782-781.
- For mental health/substance use concerns, call the 24/7 Fraser Health Crisis Line at 604-951-8855 or toll-free at 1-877-820-7444.
- Fraser Health also provides connections to cross-cultural supports for mental health concerns, including resources and videos.
- For Crisis lines that offer culturally safe supports please call:
- To access Fraser Health Virtual Care, call 1-800-314-0999 (7 days a week 10:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m.)
- Prepare your home for a power outage
- What to do during a power outage
- Food safety in an emergency
Canadian Food Inspection Agency
- Flood zones are danger zones (advice for community members)
Fraser Health resources
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